Please email this letter along with your own thoughts to Mr. Alonzo Fulgham, president of USAID, asking him to direct one half of the $1.5 billion Afghanistan reconstruction funds contained in the recently passed Supplemental Appropriations bill to fund cash-for-work projects in Afghanistan, which efficiently puts money into the hands of the poorest Afghans. USAID is the agency through which the vast majority of your reconstruction tax dollars are disbursed to Afghanistan. Also please send a copy to President Obama, and to your congressman. Home: Jobs for Afghans.<

Letter from Americans to Congress on Afghanistan, The Five Percent Solution
(Start a committee in your community to sign this or your own letter.  A committee can be just 2 people.  Highlight page, copy-and-paste into your congressman's (email form here.)

 

Dear Congressman/Senator,

The mismanaged war in Afghanistan is spinning out of control.  We  your undersigned constituents are supporters of Jobs for Afghans, and as our representative we would like you to call for a new approach which will secure stability, help the Afghan people, and enable our troops to come home within one year.  General David Petraeus, General Karl Eikenberry, Vice President Joe Biden, and Time Magazine all agree: 70% of the insurgents are men who fight mainly because the Taliban pays a daily wage so they can feed their families.  The unemployment rate is 40%.  Hunger and malnutrition is the norm, and starvation is not uncommon.  One village elder in the Korengal  Valley was quoted in the April 2009 issue of Time Magazine as saying: "Give them jobs, and they will stop fighting."

General Eikenberry, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said to Congress in 2007, "Much of the enemy force is drawn from the ranks of unemployed men looking for wages to support their families."   General Petraeus said that those who are simply fighting to support their families should be given an economic alternative.  Providing jobs paying between $5 to $10 per day, which is an good wage in Afghanistan, is one such means. 

Jobs for Afghans demands that our U.S. Congress earmark 5% the amount appropriated for military operations in Afghanistan, our tax dollars, to a fund which benefits ordinary Afghans with simple day labor jobs, paid in cash at the end of each day.    Such programs have already been implemented on a small scale in various provinces with great success, in Jawzjan Province, Uruzgan, and Balkh Province, to name a few.  They address a root cause of the insurgency: 40% unemployment and desperate poverty.  The goal of Jobs for Afghans is to help Afghans achieve a stable enough economic and political footing to allow U.S. forces to withdraw within one year.

Cash-for-work projects are tried and proven. The challenge for Congress is to implement them on a wide scale.   Cash-for-work programs have the advantages of:

- Being tried and proven on a small scale.

- Accountability.  Cash-for-work projects are labor-intensive and easy to audit, since little machinery or building materials are required.  Most cash-for-work projects require only hand tools, involving projects such as clearing debris and rubble from canals, or digging miles of ditch for future water and electricity infrastructure. 

- Being inexpensive.  A competitive wage in Afghanistan for day labor is $10 per day.  $5  per day compares with pay on the Afghan National Police force. 

- Allowing the prioritization of projects which are useful to the community.  Afghanistan is currently in a pre-development stage of economic growth, in which basic infrastructure in water, sewage, and electricity are more important than state-of-the-art factories. Three-fourths of the population has no access to safe drinking water, and many die from preventable, water-borne disease.

- Easy to manage and supervise.  Most supervision is indigenous once the project is defined, so that many foreign engineers are not needed in the field, which is a security risk. 

- Economic sustainability.  Such a program will encourage small capital formation which is critical to the evolution of the small business sector, and will complement all other development initiatives.

Jobs for Afghans is proposing that this fund, equal to no less than $4 billion, be administered by the US agency USAID, through which most reconstruction funds are already administered.  Funds would then be disbursed to a mix of NGOs and Afghan government departments submitting qualifying proposals, and agreeing to USAID reporting requirements, including random headcounts of workers at work sites and spot audits.

If the U.S. Congress can spend $700 billion of taxpayer money to bail out the bad investments of banks, it can spend $4 billion to stop a war.

We call our solution The Five Percent Solution, as the amount is roughly  5% of what  the United States already spends for the war each year.  The Obama administration has already affirmed that this war cannot be fought "by military means alone."

Some say that the security situation in Afghanistan will not allow for large-scale reconstruction work to take place, but this is not true.  Some parts of the country are more stable than others,and these are where these projects should begin.

 Eight full years after liberation from the unpopular and oppressive Taliban, the vast majority of Afghans remain in desperate poverty, and this has given the insurgency its opening.  One out of five children dies before the age of five, one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, more women die in childbirth than anywhere in the world, due to lack of basic medical supplies, and three-fourths of the country has no access to clean drinking water, resulting in many people dying of preventable, water-borne disease.

The Marshall Plan after World War II showed that economic strategy is as important as military strategy in securing peace and prosperity after conflict.  The benefits of peace are on display in the long period of expansion and prosperity following the Marshall Plan in Europe.  The Afghan people have for 30 years been invaded, occupied, and treated as pawns by the international community.  The time has come to reach out and to offer what has never been offered before: help which allows Afghans to help themselves and to build their own country, with dignity and pride, through the sweat of their own brows.  The world will be rewarded with stabillity, prosperity, and a new start in relations with Muslim nations, so that humanity may face the pressing challenges of the new Millenia as one.  

The following senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is a key comittee in passing a program such as the Jobs for Afghans initiative.  Please  present our program to them, and use your point of personal privilege to take the floor of the House of Representatives to make a call for "The Five Percent Solution.".  Your district demands it.   Please keep us appraised of your progress, and report to us as to which of these senators is on-board, so our organization can lobby those who are not. Thank you.


 Signed,
(Name/Names of constituents)
In Support of Jobs for Afghans
http://jobsforafghans.org

 

Senate Appropriations Committee:

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D- HI)
202-224-3934

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D- WV)
202-224-3954

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D- VT)
202-224-4242

Sen. Tom Harkin (D- IA)
202-224-3254

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D- MD)
202-224-4654

Sen. Herb Kohl (D- WI)
202-224-5653

Sen. Patty Murray (D- WA)
202-224-2621

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D- ND)
202-224-2551

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D- CA)
202-224-3841

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D- IL)
202-224-2152

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R- KY)
202-224-2541

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R- AL)
202-224-5744

Sen. Judd Gregg (R- NH)
202-224-3324

Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R- UT)
202-224-5444

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R- TX)
202-224-5922

Sen. Tim Johnson (D- SD)
202-224-5842

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D- LA)
202-224-5824

Sen. Jack Reed (D- RI)
202-224-4642

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D- NJ)
202-224-3224

Sen. Ben Nelson (D- NE)
202-224-6551

Sen. Mark Pryor (D- AR)
202-224-2353

Sen. Jon Tester (D- MT)
202-224-2644

Sen. Thad Cochran (R- MS)
202-224-5054

Sen. Arlen Specter (R- PA)
202-224-4254

Sen. Kit Bond (R- MO)
202-224-5721

Sen. Sam Brownback (R- KS)
202-224-6521

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R- TN)
202-224-4944

Sen. Susan Collins (R- ME)
202-224-2523

Sen. George Voinovich (R- OH)
202-224-3353

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- AK)
 202-224-6665

Links:
General Petraeus speech:
http://www.defenselink.mil//news/newsarticle.aspx?id=54107

Vice President Joe Biden remarks:
http://www.geo.tv/3-10-2009/36980.htm

 

Jobs for Afghans:
http://jobsforafghans.org